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California Institute of Technology tops list of world's universities

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
October 5th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

California schools and universities have suffered recent budget - to little avail. The California Institute of Technology has been rated as the Number One university in the United States. In addition, the University of California campuses at Berkeley and Los Angeles have maintained their top 20 positions in the list, in spite of massive state funding cuts to higher education.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The 2012-13 World University Rankings, released this week by the Times Higher Education magazine in London, placed the Pasadena institution at No. 1, ahead of the University of Oxford and Stanford, which both tied for second place. Harvard placed fourth.

The rest of the top 10 in order were: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Princeton University, the University of Cambridge, Imperial College London, UC Berkeley and the University of Chicago.

Caltech President Jean-Lou Chameau credited the school's success to a simple recipe --

"We always try to recruit exceptional faculty and exceptional students," Chameau said. "We try to support them the best we can and we encourage them to look at big questions, important scientific issues. It has resulted in game-changing types of discoveries."

Chameau also praised the other universities at the top; Caltech is also home to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The designations were measured by such factors as research funding, faculty publication, the influence of research as measured by citations, the international make-up of faculty and students and the number of doctorates awarded.

The University of California had five campuses in the top 50 worldwide, with UCLA 13th and U.C. Santa Barbara 35th.  UC San Diego fell to 38th place from 33rd last year, while UC Davis fell to 44th place from 38th. 

Other universities which lost ground include Pennsylvania State, which fell from 51st to 61st, the University of Massachusetts dropping from 64th to 72nd, and Arizona State University, which slid 127th to 148th.

These rankings reflect a troubling trend of public funding cuts at the state and federal level that are eroding U.S. dominance. In the meantime, institutions in Asian countries such as South Korea and Hong Kong are making significant gains.

Phil Baty, the editor who oversaw the rankings says that while the U.S. had 76 institutions among the top 200, 51 of them slid lower down the list from last year.

"The U.S. still has by far the most world-class universities of any nation, and its leading institutions remain the very best in the world -- but there are signs of dangerous complacency and the start of the decline of a world-leading university sector," Baty said in a statement.

"For many years, the U.S. has been the world's biggest investor in tertiary education, spending more of its gross domestic product than any other developed nation on its universities -- but not anymore," he said.

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